Friday, November 06, 2009

Sleeping or not

So yesterday I finally decided that I had just about had enough of this not being able to fall asleep bit and made an appointment to see my doctor. I don't frequently go to the doctor - mostly just once a year for the physical that my insurance pays for and the random time or two when I am so sick that I can't get well without some form of antibiotic. But this not sleeping well thing, well, it finally pushed me over the edge.

I pretty much live my life (as do many people) on a chronic sleep deficit. I go to bed too late, get up too early - sometimes by choice, sometimes out of necessity. The last month has been especially bad with me working a string of three overnight shifts and then a whole shitload of evenings, which resulted in one messed up sleep cycle. I don't mind working evenings - it's not a bad shift and there are about a third as many people there, but what I really need to do is sleep in till 9:30AM or so before I go in. That doesn't happen very often as those mornings are among the few mornings that I can actually take Anna to school. So what happens is I get up at 6:30. And then I wonder why I hit the wall at 9PM with 90 minutes left to work.

But then, without fail, I get home from that shift and I'm not tired. So I'm up till midnight or 1AM and then have to be at work at 8 the next day. It just sets me up. I should be tired, and I am, but I'm not. All of this leads to needing caffeine the first thing in the morning and liberal doses throughout the day, just to prop myself up enough to be able to function like a normal human being. Of course, all this caffeine leads to disruptions in the sleep cycle, which starts the whole dirty process all over again.

And then, you throw in my own personal wrinkle. I lay in bed at night trying to sleep, and the worry turns the volume up to 10. I think about things I might have left undone at work, things that might happen either tomorrow or in the near (or even distant) future, other people, other things so far out of my sphere of control it's not even funny...the list could literally go on forever. And it's not just that I think about it, it's that I pick it up and run with it as if I'm trying to make the winning touchdown. The other night I had to come back downstairs and was up till nearly 2AM when I had to be up at 5AM the next day. It wasn't pretty.

So because of all this, I went to the doctor. I was not looking for a quick fix - I know that there are many things that are buried beneath this, things that only I can unpack, things that no pill can fix. I got a lot of advice - things I already knew - like cutting out caffeine, exercising more regularly, melatonin, Benadryl, meditation, etc., etc., etc. And all those things I am willing to try. I complain constantly that I don't have time in my life for exercise which is bullshit because if I cut back my internet time even by an hour a day, I would have the time necessary. If it's important, you make time.

But the root of all of this is the worry. The nagging feeling that something is undone or that something horrible is in the offing. It relates back to my anticipation post. Heidi always tells me not to invite that kind of energy in which is her way of saying not to borrow trouble. She is, of course, right. It's not quite that simple. You can't rationalize with that part of your brain. It is chock full of emotions and all the types of reactions that go along with them, so calmly telling them to shut the fuck up doesn't really work all that well. But I know there is a way to short circuit the cycle and to stop it from feeding on itself.

I left the doctor's office with a bunch of literature and a prescription for Ativan. We'll see how it goes. I don't anticipate having to use much of the medication - I got a prescription for 20 of those last March at my physical and still have a fair number left. But to get over the hump, I'm not afraid of a little help. Better living through chemicals as my doctor friend always says.

So a few days of that to get myself back to normal and then after that, I'm crackin' skulls. (well, not really, but you get my meaning.)

(photo credit)

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